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Influence of parental involvement on learners’ participation in early childhood development educati

INFLUENCE OF PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT ON LEARNERS’
PARTICIPATION IN EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT
EDUCATION, LOWER NYOKAL DIVISION, HOMA-BAY DISTRICT.

Ochindo Janet Achieng’

A Research Project Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for
the Award of Master of Education in Curriculum Studies.
University of Nairobi

2014


DECLARATION
I hereby declare that this research project is my original work and has never been
submitted to any other institution for the award of any Degree.
________________________
Ochindo Janet Achieng
E55/75580/2012
This research project has been submitted for examination with our approval as the
University supervisors.

________________________
Prof. Winston J. Akala
Department of Educational Administration and Planning
University of Nairobi
_________________________
Dr. Caroline Ndirangu
Lecturer
Department of Educational Administration and Planning
University of Nairobi

i


DEDICATION
I dedicate this research work to my family, my husband Erick and to my children
Eddy, Saab, Brighton and Sam for the love, support, understanding and
inspiration they gave that made me succeed in my studies.

ii


ACKNOWLEGEMENTS
First and foremost, I thank the Almighty God for the grace and power that
enabled me to complete this work.
I also wish to acknowledge with deep felt appreciation those without whom this
work would not have been accomplished. It would be a great task to mention all
of them here. I am deeply indebted to my supervisors, Prof. Akala Winston and
Dr. Caroline Ndirangu, whom despite their busy schedules found time to read
through my work. They guided, gave suggestions, encouraged and provided moral
support that culminated in the completion of this work.
Equally, I appreciate and give gratitude to all teachers and parents in Lower
Nyokal division who participated in this study. Again, I equally appreciate and
thank the lecturers and staff of the Department of Educational Administration and
Planning, University of Nairobi for their supportive roles in the course of my
study.
Last, but not least I appreciate the effort extended by Mr.Dola Jacob, Mr. Ogolla
Peter and Mr. Ochieng Rolex for Editing and typing this work.

iii



TABLE OF CONTENTS

Declaration ………………………………………………………………………..i
Dedication ………………………………………………………………………...ii
Acknowledgements …………………………………………………………...…iii
Table of Content…………………………………………………….....…………iv
Appendices ……………………………………………………………………….ix
List of tables ……………………………………………………………………..x
List of figures….……………………………………….……………………….xii
Abbreviations and acronyms………………………………………………..…xiii
Abstract…………………………………………………………………………xv
CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the study .………………………………………………….…1
1.2 Statement of the problem..……………………………………………….……6
1.3 Purpose of the study ……………………………………………………….....7
1.4 Objectives of the study ………………………………………….………..…..7
1.5 Research questions …….……………………………………….……………8
1.6 Significance of the study .…………….…………………………….…….…..8
1.7 Limitations of the study ………………………………………….……..........9

iv


1.8 Delimitations of the study ………………………………………………..…..9
1.9 Basic assumptions of the study…………………………………………..…10
1.10 Definition of significant terms …………………........................................10
1.11 Organization of the study………………………………………...………..11
CHAPTER TWO
LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Introduction …………………………………………………………………12
2.2 The concept of parental involvement in ECDE……………………………12
2.3 Fee payment and learners’ participation in ECDE ……..…………………...14
2.4 Parental involvement in open days and learners’ participation in ECDE…..15
2.5 Facilitation in homework and learners’ participation in ECDE ………….…16
2.6 Health and learners’ participation in ECDE………………………………...17
2.7 Summary of literature review………………………………….…………....19
2.8 Theoretical framework ……………………………………….…………….20
2.9 Conceptual framework …………………………………………….……….21
CHAPTER THREE
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 Introduction ……………………………………………………………….…23
3.2 Research design ………………………………………………………….….23
3.3 Target population ……………………………………………….…………...24

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3.4 Sample size and sampling procedure ………………………………….…...24
3.5 Research instruments ………………………………………………….….....25
3.6 Instruments validity……………… ………………………………….…...…26
3.7 Instruments reliability ………………………………………...……….……27
3.8 Data collection procedure…………………………………………………...28
3.9 Data analysis technique…………………………………………………….29
CHAPTER FOUR
DATA ANALYSIS, INTERPRETATION AND DISCUSSION
4.1 Introduction ………………………………………………………………… 30
4.2 Questionnaire return rate ……………………………………………………30
4.3 Demographic characteristics of respondents………………….…….……….31
4.3.1 Distribution of head teachers and ECDE teachers by gender
………………….…………………………………………….............................31
4.3.2 Distribution of head teachers and ECDE teachers by
Age…………………………………………………………………………….…32
4.3.3 Professional qualifications of head teachers and ECDE
teachers………………...………………………………………………………33
4.3.4 Teaching experience of head teachers and ECDE teachers
………………………….………………………………………………….…….34
4.3.5 Classification of parents by gender ……………………………..……...…34
4.3.6 Education level of ECDE parents…………………………………...….….35

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4.3.7 Parents’ age bracket ……………………………………………...…….…35
4.4 Effects of prompt fee payment on ECDE learners’ participation in class
……………………………………………….…………….…36
4.4.1 Parents’ view on prompt fee payment ……………………………….…...36
4.4.2 Head teachers and ECDE Teachers’ perspective on prompt fee payment
……………………...…38
4.5 Relationship between open days and learners’ activeness in class …….…41
4.5.1 Parents’ view point on Open Days ……………………………..…...…..41
4.5.2 Head teachers and teachers’ view point on open days…………..…......43
4.6 Parental facilitation of learner’s home work and learners’ participation in
ECDE centres ……………………………………………………………..47
4.6.1 Parents’ view point on homework facilitation…….……………..…...…47
4.6.2 Head teachers and ECDE teachers’ view point on home work facilitation
by
parents…………………………………………………………………….….…49
4.7 Ways by which parental contribution to heath of learners’ influences their
participation in ECDE centre. ……………………………………………..52
4.7.1 Common ailments as suggested by parents and teachers ……….…..…52
CHAPTER FIVE
SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Introduction …………………………………………………………….….57
5.2 Summary of the study …………………………………………………......57

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5.3 Summary of the findings………………………………………….………...58
5.4 Conclusions …………………………………………………………......…..59
5.5 Recommendations …………………………………………….…………....61
5.6 Recommendations for further research …………………………….........…62
REFERENCES ………………………………………….……………………..63

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APPENDICES
Appendix A: A Letter of transmittal …………………………………..…..…68
Appendix B: Questionnaire for head teachers …………………………….…69
Appendix C: Questionnaire for ECDE teachers ……………........................…74
Appendix D: Questionnaire for parents..………………………………..……..79
Appendix E : Observation checklist…………………….………………..........82
Appendix F: Research permit…………………………………………………..83
Appendix G: Research authorization…………………………………………..84

ix


LIST OF TABLES
Table

Page

Table 3.1:

Target population ………………………………………………25

Table 4.1:

Questionnaire return rate …………………………………..…...31

Table 4.2:

Distribution of head teachers and ECDE teachers by gender…..32

Table 4.3:

Head teachers and ECDE teachers’ age distribution …………...32

Table 4.4:

Professional qualification of head teachers and ECDE teachers..33

Table 4.5:

Experience of head teachers and ECDE teachers in Lower Nyokal
Division………………………………………………………… 34

Table 4.6:

Parents classification by gender …………………………………34

Table 4.7:

Education level of the parents…………………………………...35

Table 4.8:

Classification of parents by age………………………………….36

Table 4.9:

Challenges faced by parents on prompt fee payment………...….38

Table 4.10:

Parents fee payment subscription method………………………39

Table 4.11:

Fee payment effects on attendance according to head teachers and

ECDE teachers ……………………………………………………………….40
Table 4.12:

Daily class attendance register……………………………..…….41

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Table 4.13:

Importance of open days according to parents ………………….42

Table 4.14:

Ways through which parents participated during open days …..44

Table 4.15:

Ways of participation during open days by learners………….….45

Table 4.16:

Challenges faced by head teachers and ECDE teachers in support
of homework facilitation ………………………………..………48

Table 4.17:

Methods of facilitation of learners’ homework by head teachers
and ECDE teachers ……………………………………………...49

Table 4.18:

Challenge faced by teachers in parental facilitation of learners’
homework…………………….………………………………....50

Table 4.19:

Measures to mitigate the challenges on homework facilitation ....51

Table 4.20:

Home work diaries …………………………………………........51

Table 4.21:

Common ailments as suggested by parents ……………………..52

Table 4.22:

steps suggested by teachers and ECDE teachers to minimize the
emergence of common ailments ………………………...…....…53

Table 4.23:

Ways to minimize the emergence of the common ailments as
suggested by parents …………………………………….………54

Table 4.24:

General grooming of learners according to the observer ………..55

xi


Table 4.25:

Conditions of packed meals for the learners according to the
observer ………………………………………………………….56

xii


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
Figure 2.1:

Page
Analogy on the concept of parental involvement and learners’
participation………………….......................................................13

Figure 2.2:

Conceptual framework showing relationship between parental
involvement and learners’ participation in ECDE……….……....22

Figure 4.1:

Parents who completed for their children school fees during the
term ………………...……………..……………………..…....... 37

Figure 4.2:

Effect of fee payment on learners’ attendance ………………......39

Figure 4.3:

Open day attendance by parents…………………….…………...41

Figure 4.4:

Importance of open day according to parents …………………..42

Figure 4.5:

Open day organization by schools ……………………………....43

Figure 4.6:

Challenges on preparing for open days……………………….....46

Figure 4.7:

Parents who assist learners with homework…………….…….... 47

Figure 4.8:

Extents of effects of common ailments ………………………....53

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ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS
AEYC

:

Association for Education of Young Children

AFEW

:

African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Kenya Limited

ECCE

:

Early Childhood Care Education

ECD

:

Early Childhood Development

ECDC

:

Early Childhood Development Centres

ECDE

:

Early Childhood Development Education

ECE

:

Early Childhood Education

FPE

:

Free Primary Education

MDG

:

Millennium Development Goals

MoEST

:

Ministry of Education Science and Technology

MOH

:

Ministry of Health

NCS

:

National Curriculum Statement

NGO

:

Non – Governmental Organization

SPSS

:

Statistical Package for Social Sciences

UNESCO

:

United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural
Organization

UNICEF

:

United Nations Children’s Fund

xiv


WASH

:

Water Sanitation and Hygiene

WHO

:

World Health Organization

xv


ABSTRACT
The needs of children are complex and diverse, and involve catering for all areas
of development, including physical, mental, social, emotional, moral and spiritual.
For children to realize their full potential in life, they require quality healthcare,
nutrition, early stimulation, protection, care and training services. No one partner
can adequately provide all these services effectively to safeguard rights and meet
the needs of young children. Thus, the purpose of the study was to investigate the
influence of parental involvement on learners’ participation in Early Childhood
Development Education, Lower Nyokal division, Homa Bay District. The
objectives of the study were; to determine the effects of prompt fee payment,
examine ways by which parental participation during open days, and establish
ways through which parental facilitation of learners’ homework and ways by
which parental contribution to health of learners’ influence their participation in
ECDE centres in Lower Nyokal division. This study was based on
Bronfenbrenners’ theory of ecological systems which postulates that children
develop within a complex system of relationships affected by multiple levels of
environment. The study used descriptive survey design because data was
collected at a particular point in time and used to describe the nature of the exiting
circumstances. The instruments for data collection were questionnaires for head
teachers, questionnaires for ECDE teachers, questionnaire for parents and an
observation checklist for primary source of data. The target population was 105
ECDE teachers, 35 head teachers and 900 parents but the researcher only
considered 30% of these for the study. For the two strata (West Kochia zone and
East Kochia zone) ECDE centres to form the sample, simple random and
convenience sampling techniques were employed. Piloting was done to ensure
content validity and questionnaire items were carefully chosen to ensure they
were representative of the vast range of questions in the area of study. Split-half
method was employed to test the reliability of instruments. Data obtained was
analyzed descriptively and presented in tables, graphs and charts. The study had
the following conclusions: Imprompt fee payment resulted to inconsistent
attendance, mobility and drop out of learners from the ECDE centers. On parent’s
participation during open days, the study revealed low participation. Parental
facilitation of learners’ homework was poor as parents reported lack of materials,
time and knowledge to do it successfully. The study also revealed that ill health
affected attendance of ECDE learners as most of the learners’ attendance was
inconsistent. The study therefore recommends that the government considers
developing and implementing policies that support parental involvement since the
collaborative effort enhances children’s learning. The study suggested that further
research be carried out to compare parental involvement in public ECDE centres
and private centres and to establish differences in development dimensions
between children who attended public pre-schools and those who attended private
pre-schools at the lower primary level.

xvi


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the study
Children are extremely dependent on other people for life sustaining support for
example in provision of food, shelter, clothing and attention (Guideline Series,
2006). Through interaction, punishment and rewards, children turn to be
individuals who teachers, parents and other caregivers want them to be. United
Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO, 2001), sees
Early Childhood Development and Education as a comprehensive approach to
policies and programs for children from birth to eight years of age, their parents
and caregivers aimed at protecting the child’s right to develop cognitive ,
emotional, social and physical potentials. Thus, a shaky foundation subsequently
affects the child’s opportunity for wholistic learning and growth. It is therefore
imperative that deliberate efforts are made to give children the chance to grow up
in an environment conducive to development process (UNESCO, 2001). A
comprehensive approach to providing this environment is the Early Childhood
Development Education coupled with well planned parental involvement
strategies. Experiences of early years (0-8) of development continue to influence
the individual throughout life (Guideline Series, 2006).
Shrekta (2002), states that Early Childhood Development Programs in Nepal,
India are known by various names. Early child care programs such as day care

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centres and child care centres and Early Child Education programs like nursery,
kindergarten, pre-school and pre-primary schools fall under early childhood
development program. There has been a shift in emphasis from Early Childhood
Education (ECE) to that of Early Childhood Development (ECD).

Early

Childhood Education connotes educating the children at early childhood age;
Early Childhood Care Education (ECCE) refers to taking care of children and
educating them during the absence of parents and guardians. Early Childhood
Development (ECD) encompasses a broader meaning in that it refers to the
overall development of children. It therefore explains why the term ECD is
becoming more appealing and is being widely used. The ‘E’ in ECDE stands for
education. Therefore, ECDE connotes early childhood development through
education.
Willis & Hymon-Parker (2010) define participation of learners in ECDE as how
young children learn and assimilate new things into what they already know.
Children learn about diversity through play including music, clothing, foods,
games, celebrations and dramatic play. Teachers and parents are required to
provide play materials to their children so as to help them engaged in meaningful
participation which influence the children’s social skills and development.
Being involved in movement positively affects children both cognitively and
physically. Movement activities can be initiated by teachers throughout the day
and especially during lesson transitions using songs and rhymes that reinforce

2


learning which improves children’s listening and memory skills. Activities such
as games, seat changing, role play and dancing actively contributes to children’s
development of basic timing, balance, coordination and concentration (Lawrence,
2011). It is therefore essential that learners should be enrolled in ECDE centers
and attendance be emphasized for effective participation of the learners to achieve
their wholistic learning and development (Oyamo, 2013).
Parental involvement in Early Childhood Development Education is an essential
ingredient of educational practice the world over. Although teachers use various
strategies and approaches to enable children to learn, they cannot substitute
parental love, support, responsiveness and involvement(Cobb,2001).Children
learn through observation and imitation of modeled behavior and listening to
instructions from parents or caregivers(Bandura,2002).The kind of environment at
home, both physical and psychological are key as they determine the behavioral
characteristics and attitudes of a child which in turn greatly influence the ability
of the child in coping with learning activities away from home(Cobb,2001).
The need for care that would lead to the wholistic development of the child is
appreciated globally and a corresponding right granted (The United Nations
Conventions on the Rights of the child, 1989; The Organization of African Unity,
1990 and Republic of Kenya, 1998). To secure this right, the conditions necessary
for optimal development of children need to be secured within children’s
environments that is home and school (Bronfenbrenner, 1989).

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A great deal of research in the United States and other western countries support
the notion that parental involvement generally has a positive effect on children’s
achievement. Parents who are more involved with their children’s schooling
become knowledgeable about school goals and procedures (Hill & Taylor, 2004),
communicates the importance of education to children (Lareau, 2000), help
children to learn strategies to enhance their perceptions of competence and control
over achievement outcomes (Grolnick & Slowiaczek, 1994), and structure
learning experiences that results in skill development (Keith, 1993).
In Japan around 1980s, several influential studies concluded that Japanese
mothers were highly involved in their children’s education and instrumental in
promoting student achievement relative to mothers in the United States
(Stevenson & Stigler, 1992). More recently, however, negative portraits of
Japanese mothers have emerged. Some observers within Japan characterize
mothers as being overly focused on academic achievement and negligent in
supporting the children’s social and emotional development while others criticize
them for selfishly neglecting their children’s schooling and their development
while satisfying their own hedonistic desire for leisure or employment (Holloway,
2000; Inoue & Ehara, 1995). Parental involvement is typically defined as the
initiation of home-based behaviors such as monitoring homework as well as
school based activities such as attending school events and communicating with
teachers (Hoover-Dempsey, 2004). In Japan, teachers make explicit and exacting

4


demands on parents with regard to these types of involvement (Allison, 1991;
Yamamoto, 2003).
Cueto (2003), study in Peru claims that ECDE program lays a foundation for
primary; secondary and further education exposing children to various
experiences that enhance their development, prepare them for higher level
professions and ultimately help them lead a better life.
Ahmed (2003), study in Bangladesh states that children affected by hunger and
malnutrition as well as ill health did not have the same potential to do well at
school in comparison with well nourished and healthy children. In addition, the
study points out that poor health and malnutrition lowers children’s cognitive
development through physiological changes and reduces their capacity to
participate in learning activities.
In South Africa, parents have been given the mandate through the South African
School’s Act 84 of 1996 to be involved in their children’s education (South
African act, 1996). Section 6.1 of the Act provides that parents should take an
active role in their children’s school work and make it possible for the children to
complete their homework. Parents should in terms of section 6.2 attend meetings
that the governing body convenes. It is at these meetings that parents have
opportunities to understand their roles. The National Curriculum Statement (NCS)
also legislates that parents and wider community have an important role to play in
curriculum management. NCS further identifies the benefits of community and

5


parental involvement to include improved school performance, reduced dropout
rates, a decrease in disciplinary problems and generally a more positive attitude
towards school.
Ndani (2008) study established in Kenya, Thika district that there was low
parental and community participation in pre-schools activities. Other research
findings in Kenya, on parent-teacher partnerships for enhancing pre-school
activities have also shown that parents and caregivers are not aware of their roles
in stimulating young children and believed that teachers are solely responsible for
children’s academic development (Wambiri, 2006 & Ngugi, 2000). The question
one may ask up to this juncture is whether the factors identified influence parental
involvement in pre-school activities in other districts in Kenya and particularly
Homa-Bay District, Lower Nyokal Division. It is for this reason that the
researcher conducted a study on influence of parental involvement on
participation of ECDE learners, Lower Nyokal Division, Homa-Bay District.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Parents in Lower Nyokal division have very little time to spend with their
children. They are not accompanying their children to ECDE centers neither are
they collecting them from the centers. A survey conducted in the division by Aila
(2006) shows poor turnout of parents during school meetings, poor payments of
school levies and poor attitudes toward ECDE. This might have led to ECDE
pupil’s low attendance in school, low enrolment and poor transition to class one.

6


This study therefore intends to investigate the influence of parental involvement
on participation of learners in ECDE, Lower Nyokal division, Homa-Bay District
(Lower Nyokal Divisional Education office, 2013). Reports on workshop
attendance by parents, open day attendance by parents and records of fee payment
at the ECDE centres provided evidence to the Lower-Nyokal Education office on
low parental involvement on participation of learners in ECDE.
1.3 Purpose of the study
The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of parental involvement
on learners’ participation in Early Childhood Development Education, Lower
Nyokal Division, Homa- Bay District.
1.4 Objectives of the study
The study was guided by the following research objectives:
(i)

To determine the effects of prompt fee payment on participation of
learners in ECDE centres in Lower Nyokal Division, Homa-Bay
District.

(ii)

To examine ways by which parental participation during open days
influences the learners’ participation in ECDE centres, Lower Nyokal
Division, Homa-Bay District.

(iii)

To establish ways by which parental facilitation of learners’
homework influence learners’ participation in ECDE centres.

7


(iv)

To determine ways by which parental contribution to health of learners
influence their participation in ECDE centres, Lower Nyokal Division,
Homa-Bay District

1.5 Research questions
The study was guided by the following research questions;
(i)

What are the effects of prompt fee payment on participation of learners in
ECDE centres in Lower Nyokal Division, Homa-Bay District?

(ii)

What is the relationship between ECDE open days and the learners’
participation in class, Lower Nyokal Division, Homa-Bay District?

(iii)

What roles do parents play in facilitating the ECDE learners’ homework in
Lower Nyokal Division, Homa-Bay District?

(iv)

In what ways do parental contributions to the health of ECDE learners
influence their class participation in Lower Nyokal Division, Homa-Bay
District?

1.6 Significance of the study
It was hoped that the findings of the study would be used to establish the
influence of parental involvement on learners’ participation of pre-school children
and recommend possible strategies to make it effective. It may provide the
curriculum planners and developers, teachers, learners, the public and
stakeholders in the education sector with a better understanding of parental

8


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